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Lets Abolish Feedback Brian Whalley (Lately of Queens University of Belfast) and put something better in its place.

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Presentation on theme: "Lets Abolish Feedback Brian Whalley (Lately of Queens University of Belfast) and put something better in its place."— Presentation transcript:

1 Lets Abolish Feedback Brian Whalley (Lately of Queens University of Belfast) and put something better in its place

2 well be Looking at existing feedback Looking at what feedback is, variously Looking at some simple educational systems Marks, remarks and students needs Making suggestions for improvement

3 Knowledge one has acquired without sufficient structure to tie it together is knowledge that is likely to be forgotten. An unconnected set of facts has a pitiably short half-life in memory. Organizing facts in terms of principles and ideas from which they may be inferred is the only known way of reducing the quick rate of loss of human memory …. (But) designing curricula in a way that reflects the basic structure of the field requires the most fundamental understanding of that field. (Bruner, J. S. (1960). The process of education. Bruner, J. S. (1960). The process of education.

4 The NSS and the feedback issue What do the data really mean? An example of institutional panic I dont think they mean a great deal! do even if they do then how can they be improved – given that feedback is the best way to improve performance (see Nichol, Gibbs, Race, and especially Geoff Petty (Evidence-based Teaching)

5 What is feedback It depends upon whom you ask! Plenty of good statements so well look at a few consequences Nicol and Mcfarlane Dick Alastair Irons (Enhancing learning through formative assessment and feedback 2008)

6 The Ten Principles of Assessment and Feedback 1. Help clarify what good performance is via aims, criteria, standards 2. Encourage time and effort on challenging learning tasks. 3. Deliver high quality feedback information that helps learners self-correct. 4. Encourage positive motivational beliefs and self-esteem. 5. Encourage interaction and dialogue around learning (peer and teacher student) (Nicol 2007)

7 10 principles continued 6. Facilitate the development of self-assessment and reflection in learning. 7. Give learners choice in assessment – content and processes. 8. Involve students in decision-making about assessment policy and practice. 9. Support the development of learning communities. 10. Help teachers adapt teaching to student needs. How do we use exams (and coursework) to deliver these?

8 Nine disadvantages (From Irons, p 25-6) Students dont make use of feedback Doesnt actually contribute to learning Only there to justify the mark given May be categorial in tone and not explicit No opportunity to enter into dialogue Emphasises power relationships The potential to include bias May actually foster rote learning Might be inappropriate To some, possibly large, degree these are because of differences in what is meant by feedback.

9 If feedback is so important then why is it referenced so infrequently? Where do you find a definition? Well, we all know what feedback is, dont we? Dont we?

10 your module (swap) (5 minutes) Draw a time line (start of module to end) Draw a time line (start of module to end) Tick for start (when do you start?) Tick for start (when do you start?) Tick for end (what denoted the end?) Tick for end (what denoted the end?) Note the hours to be spent (lectures etc) Note the hours to be spent (lectures etc) Put a symbol to mark any Assessment event Put a symbol to mark any Assessment event Put a symbol to show when feedback is given Put a symbol to show when feedback is given Note below the type of feedback given (however you define it) Note below the type of feedback given (however you define it) A (x) F (x) Reflect, are you happy with this? Discuss your chart with a neighbour Are you happy with each others, and indeed, the feedback process?

11 when to give feedback When can you? When should you? When do you? Do others in your department agree on when you do? Do others in your department give proper feedback anyway (module scheme)?

12 A definition

13 Feedback and Feedforward in a control system sense Do exams provide a reference input (or even output?) A MCQ might do this. Criterion Referencing might too.

14 Educational ramp up To raise the level of attainment We need controlled input, ramping up. Output, achievement, results attainment Ee Marks, no remarks for Exam events Ese Ee Delayed marks and remarks for Essay event Ese T T ask set with Criterion Referenced assessment Semester start Semester end

15 Ee end start Attainment Ee Delayed marks and remarks for Exam event, Ee EeEe Can I be more constructive? A T MR A T Task Activity Marks Remarks A T MR R Ee M A T MR Gradient = learning rate Two Activity c/work Two Activity c/work + exam How do we increase the gradient?

16 Allison Rossett (First Things First) Performance analysis Training needs assessment Current Optimal Key Areas of Need Recommended Solution System Performance Support The seductive nature of the new media is another good reason to add performance analysis right up front. Performance analysis keeps the focus on the customers and their purposes. The goal is to find the right bundle of interventions, not to take a spin with podcasts or Second Life. Training needs assessment New Courses Solution Partners Revised Courses Job Aids E-Learning

17 Everyone needs trainers Umm, sometimes it works …… Teamwork Feed forward It is not judgemental. The negative connotations of past failures are banished There is no such thing as failure just Feedforward. It is much easier to deliver. People are less defensive when discussing future performance Feedforward is taken less personally, provokes less resistance. Marshall Goldsmith

18 Itiel Dror Control – handing appropriate responsibilities to students Challenge – student abilities Commitment – student commitment to learning opportunities What might be the best ways (note plural) to develop these? Using cognitive psychology

19 6 Competencies students need to gain Competence – encouragement by challenge and remarks to achieve skills levels Confidence – promoting remarks to show themselves, and others, their achievements Critical thinking – which is what we have been wanting all along in 'Thinking skills, used in problem solving Creativity – in what students do and how they do it Collaboration – bringing in team-working and ethics Commonality – of purpose, to achieve specified (and unspecified) objectives Curtiosity – which is more than curiosity. Marcia Mentkowski Mihály Csíkszentmihályi

20 Ways forward (rather than conclusions) Develop a broad skills base Include employability skills Use Problem-based learning Aim for the 6Cs Use the 3Cs And charting (etc) Confidence Critical thinking Creativity Collaboration Commonality Curtiosity Control Challenge Commitment

21 Assessment for Learning ( Geoff Petty - Evidence-Based Teaching) Seven principles common to high-quality learning and achievement (p164) 1. Students must see the value of the learning 2. Students must believe they can do it 3. Challenging goals 4. Feedback and dialogue on progress to the goal 5. Establishing the structure of information and so its meaning 6. Time and repetition 7. Teach skills as well as content

22 Feedback and performance This is not as difficult as we might think (ahem) Changing the way we work at things Using informal learning and performance ideas

23 Problem specified Manipulation of system Problem solution Clues Guidance Help Provision of Feedback on solutions Rules System Examples Procedures Task Resources Support Assessment T Tacit knowledge required S Sticking point(s) likely T S Fig 5.1 A temporal sequence describing a rule-based learning design, In Oliver et al. 2007. Describing ICT-based learning designs that promote quality learning outcomes R R Ron Oliver et al. Schema, also

24 Communities of learning We need to develop these: At a variety of scales of operation - In particular, at our own institutions - Student-centred but bringing in: Tutors, pedagogy*, employers, internet, Web 2.0, digital repositories,etc Wisdom of Crowds (Surowiecki, Shirkey) etc * Using cognitive psychology Collective Learning: Consuming knowledge Connecting knowledge Contributing knowledge Charting knowledge

25 Assessment Alignment? To fit with diversity of skills as well as instruction methods etc E-portfolios Transcripts and record of achievements Leading back to employability

26 Reasons to be cheerful? If teaching was as simple as telling wed all be a lot smarter than we are. (Mark Twain) In Carol Dwecks terms, it takes an incrementalist approach to learning which emphasises effort and improving competence. This contrasts with an entity approach, which attributes learning to ability and is focused on proving competence through grades and comparisons. Gordon Stewart (2008)

27 Towards a proper educational feedback system What do I mean by this? Forget about Kolb cycles and Cowan loops* or, perhaps better, use them to give a system that works for all students (and staff) Construct (with Alignment*) a system (for a module) that maximises learning and understanding (rather than memory recall) Use Thinking Styles (Sternberg) rather than Learning Styles To produce proper alignment we really need more specific instructions per task/activity And to provide remarks with the marks is use a feedback in an educational control system

28 Delays and Troublesome Knowledge & Sticking Points Troublesome knowledge (Land) Tacit knowledge (Polanyi) Delays doing activities Sticking Points Preflights (Just-in-Time Teaching; G Novak) Feed-forward (controlled use of advance info) After Action Reviews +ve Feedback or remarks

29 Things we can do, 1, general Recognise the needs of students and their antecedent conditions Too much winging it on what they (think they) know how and what to do. Recognise the tutors assessment nd feedback provision is by no means tried and trusted (was it ever satisfactory, let alone good) Recognise that timing is important

30 Preflights (Warm-ups) Tasks set before the event for students to do Could be assessed or not (gratuitous marks) Confidence building (in you, for themselves) Tackle Troublesome knowledge beforehand Gets them to start something required later helps to avoid last-minute syndrome Can reflect on the task and achievement Make them easy to assess (if required) Follow up with After-Action Review (reflection) Link in to Criteria-Referenced Assessment

31 PFL examples Look up definitions (e.g. on Wikipedia) Prepare a bit of a spreadsheet formulation Write a bit of HTML script Prepare a PDF of a document Prepare the basis for a digital poster Analyse a photograph (prepare metadata) Extract some critical data from a table Prepare a Concept Map of a problem Find an Open Resouce app for a task

32 Criteria Referencing Shows students what is wanted in advance Shows the mark scheme related to requirements Tutors Marks and Remarks (together or not) provide External feedback for the system Easy to get them to reflect (ie they provide the feedback) Internal Feedback for the system Easier to plan what is required from the assessment Important for cross-checking (eg demonstrators) Easier to show external references (Externals) Pretty much what is meant by feed-forward (ie showing the limits for energy input into the system)

33 What drives learning Not the assessment (itself) This (best) drives checking (controller in the system). Its an indicator (control signal) Driving learning (+ve feedback) Internal (student doing the activity) External (comments from others, peers, tutor, manuals) Inhibitors to learning (-ve feedback) No remarks (feedback) Exams with no remarks (feedback) before the end of the module

34 students (tend to) revert to (school) type expectations of small classes with teachers they know well and who can give pretty immeiate remarks and even return work for repairs and re-submission may not be using good cognitive techniques which often rely on or use braindumping techqnuies fro assessment

35 Assessment for Learning (Schools are using this!) making exams less dominant and why should they be anyway? what do marks and remarks mean anyway? having care of customer for students, especially in year 1 (and Semester 1) Use class tests (MCQ, Certainty-based) Formal exams before the end of the semester (and proper remarks with the marks to the student -not just the External)

36 Care for customer Look after Level 1 Make the assessment explicit Criteria Referenced Match marks to criteria (explicitly) Give students practice in assessment (types)

37 If we believe in these principles of deep learning then (in general): Why do we set essay exams? and seem to rely on closed exams? and not used open book or seen? Why do we set exams at the end of modules? Why do we not give feedback on exams Why do we believe MCQs are ok; better? Why there are several cetls involved with active learning etc but few with Assessment? ……… and you can probably think of more

38 Ways forward (rather than conclusions) Develop a broad skills base Include employability skills Use Problem-based learning Aim for the 6Cs Use the 3Cs And charting (etc) Confidence Critical thinking Creativity Collaboration Commonality Curtiosity Control Challenge Commitment

39 some references and websites Irons, A. 2008. Enhancing learning through formative Assessment and Feedback. Routledge. Rossett, A. First Things First (A handbook for performance analysis) Pfeiffer 2009. Siemens, G. Knowing Knowledge Sternberg, R. J. (1997). Thinking styles. Cambridge University Press. Stewart, G, Testing Times 2008 Routledge, Stobart, G. (2008). Testing times: the uses and abuses of assessment. London: Routledge. Sweller, J. (1994). Cognitive Load Theory, learning difficulty, and instructional design. Learning and Instruction 4: 295–312.

40 Things we can do, 2 timing lead knowledge, skills, experience from start to finish clearly

41 practice and Kahneman and Tversky

42 to add Maslow needs? Informal learning Learning styles? Thinking styles Peer learning preflights and JiTT

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